David Moyes was reportedly scouting Arturo Vidal the other day. Manchester United have also been linked to the likes of Hector Herrera, Ander Herrera, Ever Banega and Yohan Cabaye. They're all either very good players or youngsters who will become very good players. They'll all be expensive, but United have the money and aren't too concerned with the cost. They just want top players.
But it's not like United have been able to buy excellent midfielders in recent years. Marouane Fellaini probably isn't a real central midfielder, so the last decent one they bought was Michael Carrick, and he's a one-trick pony who needs to be protected by a much better player to be good enough for a team with United's aspirations.
Manchester United's midfield sucks so much that they don't even need world class signings. They'd improve leaps and bounds simply by signing a couple of mediocre players, so I came up with a list of mediocre central midfielders who are good enough to improve them.
Paul Pogba still bitter that you lowballed him? Juventus asking too much for Vidal? Andrea Pirlo too old and immobile? Why not try Juventus' fourth-best midfielder! Claudio Marchisio had the distinction of looking like one of the better players in an underachieving Juventus team for a few years before Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo were signed. Playing alongside them made him look world class, and now Pogba's progression has made him expendable.
Of course, Juventus won't admit he's expendable. They're not run by idiots. They'll claim he's still a key player and world class so that they can suck €30 million out of someone. It'll probably work.
Marchisio is a classic good-at-everything, not-great-at-anything player, which means he'd improve United's midfield by leaps and bounds. He's a better passer than everyone in the United midfield but Carrick and he's better than Carrick at literally everything else.
Jonathan dos Santos
Barcelona pedigree. Tiki-taka. Total football. Playing the game the right way. Is probably bros with Chicharito.
He's old and broken down, but he's still a hell of a lot more mobile than Carrick and more intelligent than any of United's midfielders. He'd give them a big boost just by standing in somewhat sensible positions.
He's basically the same thing as Marchisio, except he's the best midfielder on a lame team instead of the fourth-best midfielder on a good team.
Or, if we're using his full name, FWA Player of the Year Scott Parker. He probably hands out business cards with his full name.
Arguably, there is a bigger problem with United's midfield than the fact that all of their midfielders aren't very good at football. The fact that none of their midfielders are good-looking or look like they're from the 1950's. Parker would solve both of these problems. He also runs a lot for no discernible reason and plays like someone has tricked him into thinking he's Steven Gerrard.
QPR's on-loan midfield maestro isn't going to come cheap from Tottenham Hotspur, but he'll be worth every cent of the £30 million they spend on him. He's just a nice Championship player right now, but that's good enough to get him a few starts this season. Plus, he's going to be the English Xavi eventually.
Falls into the same category as Carroll. He's a guy who will eventually be much better than mediocre, but would currently just be an average Premier League midfielder. Flip on any Derby County match and tell me he isn't better than Tom Cleverley right now.
Gritty. Hard-working. Tough. Gets stuck in. Man's man. Beat Barcelona.
While Gibson's constant injury troubles keep him from being a consistent performer in the Premier League, he's been very good for Everton when healthy. He played a regular role for United for a couple of seasons before he was shipped off, but was he really all that bad? It's not like United bought anyone better after he left. Probably because they were counting on keeping Pogba. Oops.
Alex Ferguson once said that his free kicks are worth £10 million alone. Stoke would probably be willing to sell for £5 million. This sounds like a no-brainer.
On the evidence of Sunday's game against Chelsea, Manchester United are in the business of trying to intimidate and injure their opponents now that they're crap at actually playing football. If they're going to become England's premier thugball team, they might as well sign the biggest thug of them all.
At his age, Gerrard probably isn't good enough to start every week for a title-chasing team like Liverpool, but he's certainly good enough to do a job for a mid-table side like Manchester United. It's not like he's any worse at defending than Cleverley.